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silver lining

It seems that one thing that’s happened through lockdown – at least as far as Ignite Books is concerned – is that people have been buying more e-books than they were previously. We’ve certainly seen a notable spike in sales. And that’s been a very welcome surprise, and a real boost to morale, in the midst of such a difficult time.

But should we have been so surprised by this? After all, the UK government recently removed the VAT on digital books, making them even better value than they were previously. If you’re in isolation, you can download an e-book without a delivery man coming to your front door, and the subsequent need to quarantine your new purchase. And in an uncertain economic climate, where charity shops (the mecca for thrifty book buyers) are shut, digital downloads are a cheaper option than brand new books.

Whatever the reason, we’re very happy to see our authors’ work ending up on so many computers, tablets, and e-readers. Thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy them! And for those of you who’d like to know more about our digital publications, they’re all listed here.

It goes without saying that we remain immensely proud of the paperback editions of all our books, which are things of beauty. We’re also looking forward to the day when Tezz Roberts, Ian Elmslie, and Steve Pottinger can once more do the live events – readings, talks, and gigs – they had planned before Covid-19 changed everything. Until then, stay safe, look after each other, and happy reading.

digital books

You may be aware that the UK government has now removed the VAT levy from e-books. This welcome (some might say, overdue) move means that buying a digital copy of any Ignite publication is now better value than ever. With many of us having more time on our hands, and access to high street bookshops still little more than a hope for the future, digital books are coming into their own. So here’s a reminder of our digital publications… (note: for each of them, we’ve shared the UK kindle store details. Titles should be available on multiple platforms for both kindle and non-kindle readers, just so you know.)

First up, it’s ‘The Curious Mystery…’ by Joolz Denby. The first book we ever published, this delightful novella looks at what happens to gods and goddesses when people stop believing in them. Could they end up living in a northern town just a little bit like Bradford? You know, they just might…

We have two more digital titles from Joolz. Her novel ‘Wild Thing’ is a powerful, haunting read which deserved to get a lot more recognition than it did. The physical edition of this book sold out some time ago, and it’s now only available digitally. Thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommended. And the third of Joolz’ books available from us as a digital imprint is Billie Morgan, deservedly shortlisted for the (then) Orange Prize for Literature in 2005.

We’re incredibly proud of City Baby. This is our best-selling book in every format – the physical book is now in its fifth print run. GBH bass player Ross Lomas tells his story of thirty odd (very odd) years as a touring musician. It’s the tale of how punk rock, and love, saved his life. Whether you love punk rock or wouldn’t know GBH from the Bee Gees, we guarantee you’ll enjoy this book.

Next, it’s a romp of a tale from Carl Stanley. Kiss & Make Up tells the story of a night-clubbing, drug-fuelled schoolboy who becomes make-up artist to the stars. Finally sober after years of seeking oblivion through excess, he meets up with his mother again. After all the fights and arguments, will they kiss and make up? This book was longlisted for the Polari Prize in the year it was published.

Also longlisted for the Polari Prize when we brought it out, A Marvellous Party is a wonderfully candid and engaging account of Ian Elmslie’s journey from family home to the heart of the gay cabaret scene. A beautifully crafted paean to tolerance and acceptance, with some banging showtunes and celebrity appearances on the way. Highly recommended.

Last but not least, our final digital publication is But after the gig… Tezz Roberts is a founder member of Discharge and a punk rock legend. If there’s an edge he’s sailed close to it, leapt over it, come back, and done it again. And again. And again. An incredible read which will have you laughing and wincing by turns.

There you go. We’re proud of each and every one of these books. Any or every one of them will do what a good book should do, and allow you to lose yourself within them. Whatever your choice of e-reader, you should give these titles a go. Happy reading!

out in the world

May 1st. And today our latest publication – the sixth book of poems by performance poet Steve Pottinger – is officially out in the world. Yes, we’ve had copies with us since early March, but this was always the date from which you could walk into a bookshop and order it. Not that you can walk into a bookshop right now, of course.

These are uncertain times for all of us. In relation to our plans for this book, the launch we had scheduled in Wolverhampton in late March had to be cancelled (and hasn’t yet been re-scheduled) and the series of gigs we’d set up to promote it have all gone the same way. Given everything else that’s going on in the world, we know full well that this is incredibly small beer, and like everyone else we’re waiting to see if and how and when life may return to something we recognise as ‘normal’.

For now, here’s a wonderful review of the book by Neil Leadbeater on poetry website Write Out Loud. We’d like to think it’ll help convince you to splash out on a copy of Steve’s book to brighten up life under lockdown. You can, of course, buy ‘thirty-one small acts…’ here.

And for those of you short of spare cash, or who aren’t quite sure a book of poems is for you… here’s the poem ‘enough’ which features in ‘thirty-one small acts…’ We hope you enjoy it.

worth a read…

We don’t usually write blogs about newspaper articles, but…. yesterday, Dave Simpson, music editor of The Guardian, posted a truly wonderful piece about the impact of Clay Records on the second wave of UK punk. Those of you who know of Clay already will be aware it was the brainchild of Mike Stone, and was based in an independent record shop in Stoke-on-Trent. You’ll also know that legendary UK punk bands GBH and Discharge were two of Clay’s very successful signings.

The article is a joy to read. Our only disappointment is that it didn’t mention either City Baby or But after the gig… our two best-selling autobiographies of Ross Lomas and Tezz Roberts, respectively. But that’s being really picky. The article, as we say, is a joy. And if you haven’t read it already (or you’d like to read it again) you’ll find it here. Fill yer boots!

Stay safe. And please, share this article with your friends.

a time of change

Life has changed since we last sat down to write a blog. Then, the biggest problem in the Ignite world was that our latest publication – the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger – had arrived a day later than we’d hoped and hadn’t been available for his gigs in London and Brighton.

It’s hard to believe that was three short weeks ago. Since then we’ve seen panic buying, lockdown, and increasing pressures on our health service. Our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who are working so hard in such difficult circumstances. The nationwide applause last Thursday was well-deserved, as is the PPE they’ve been waiting for, a pay rise, and more. But you know that already.

These aren’t easy times for any of us. For now, we’re still here selling books, and we very much hope to be here when things return to normal, whenever that may be. If you decide that losing yourself in our books will be the perfect way to get through your lockdown, you can order through our online shop as always, and we’ll post them out as soon as we can. But we do understand that other things may be more or a priority right now.

Look out for each other, help each other where you can, and stay safe. Our very best wishes to you all.

thirty-one small acts…

OK, so things didn’t quite go to plan, in that the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger arrived on Tuesday morning last week rather than Monday, which meant he didn’t have copies with him for his Brighton and London gigs. But the book is here now, and looking glorious.

It’s up on our shop page already, of course, and we’re off down the Post Office tomorrow morning to send out the first batch of orders. (Our thanks to all the folk who got in there early!) We’ll be setting up a book launch – maybe two or three – in advance of the official publication date of May 1st, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

In the meantime, you can be the envy of all your friends* by getting your copy here. Trust us, it’s worth it.

*especially the ones who like poetry

a bit like buses…

… in that you wait ages for some kind of news from us, and there seems to be nothing but tumbleweed. Then, out of nowhere, there’s stuff coming at you from all angles. Last week, the news that we’re putting out a new volume of poems by Steve Pottinger; today, we’re very happy to announce that A Marvellous Party is going to the printers once more.

This book by Ian Elmslie leapt out as a great story when he first sent us the manuscript, and it’s been heartening to see our faith in his work backed up by the response of so many readers to A Marvellous Party. Ian is currently touring a show based round the book – he’s in Canterbury in the next day or so – and we recommend you catch it if you get the chance.

Oh, and get yourself a copy of the book, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

hello again

It’s been a while since we found time to spend an afternoon fettling away at the Ignite website. What can we say? Life’s been busy. But here we are, in our oily cyber-overalls, pencil behind our ear, tweaking the bits that need tweaking and hitting the rest with a hammer. Like always.

Our thanks to everyone who’s been buying our books over Xmas and the New Year. We’ve been able – with some confidence – to relate spikes in sales to Discharge shows here (Tezz Roberts: But after the gig…) or to prison visits there (Ian Elmslie: A Marvellous Party) and it’s gratifying to know that our books are being enjoyed by people across the world.

This month’s big news is that a new book of poems by Steve Pottinger is currently at the printers and will be with us by early March. The timing is immaculate, as a fine fine place completely sold out earlier this year. You can pre-order copies of ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ (snappy title, huh?) here. Steve will hopefully have copies with him at his gigs in Brighton and London on 3rd and 4th March respectively. Either way, we recommend getting your mitts on one sharpish. It’s really good.

in it together

Here at Ignite we’ve always believed in the importance of looking out for each other, supporting each other, having a laugh, and doing good where we can. It’s not rocket science, although the views of certain politicians standing in the UK election suggests they’ve as much understanding of solidarity as an earthworm has of art (but that’s a whole other blog post).

To get back to the point of this blog, a week or so ago Ross Lomas turned up five copies of the US edition of his best-selling autobiography City Baby. This was published by Bazillion Points, they sent us a few copies, we admired what they’d done, and then we put them in a safe place. Then we forgot the safe place. There, folks, is a snapshot of life at Ignite Villas for you.

Anyway, Ross found the books, and we decided the safest thing to do was let other people look after them. And why not do something good, too? Ross suggested that signing the books and selling them to raise money for charity might be a good idea, and chose Acorns Hospice as the place he’d most like the money to go to.

We’re very happy to say all five books have now been sold, and are making their way to new homes. And the generosity of these Ignite readers has raised £50.00 for Acorns, which we’ll be sending them very soon. Thanks to Jerry, Paul, Raychel, Aaron, and Chris for helping us do something good. It’s the season for that kind of thing. It should always be the season for it.

And yes, we sell books too. If you want any of our titles for Xmas presents for you, your friends, or your family, pop along to our online shop. Or visit your local, independent bookshop, and order our books through them. Ta.

waiting for my man…

Here at Ignite Villas we’re truly at the cutting edge of technology. The latest in quills and inkwells, of course, and the very speediest and keenest of racing pigeons in the loft out back, ready and waiting to get word out to our authors and customers as quickly as possible.

It’s therefore entirely in keeping with our aim to embrace every modern advantage available that we’ve hit upon an incredibly modern wheeze to deliver copies of But after the gig… to Tezz Roberts and his merry team of pranksters whenever they sell out. Not for us the slow, lumbering of horse and cart northwards to the Potteries with a crate of books. Oh no.

Instead, we arrange a meeting at Wolverhampton train station, where – as the train for Stoke arrives in a cloud of steam and the smell of burning coal – we doff our hat to Mr Roberts’ representative, hand over the box of books, wish him well on his forthcoming concert tour, and return home at breakneck speed in one of the Corporation’s new-fangled omnibusses. Quite the caper!

Those of you who haven’t yet read the musings of young Roberts as he looks back at a life spent (and, indeed, mis-spent) in the clutches of punk rock can purchase one via this link here. We assure you our best pigeons will be winging their way to you, book in beak, very very soon. And on that cheery note, we bid you good morrow.

We shall now retire to peruse the daily papers and the latest horrors there within. A stiff drink or two may well be required to steady the nerves in the face of our political masters’ conniving and skulduggery. Hey ho.